Thursday, May 26, 2011

911, a Kidney Stone and Letting Go

fireman photo

So I'm back blogging this morning after recovery from a kidney stone attack last week. I've never had one before and had no idea what was happening at the time.

A week ago today I started to feel some cramping in my abdomen and drank a few glasses of water.  Shortly after that I felt a huge pain in my right kidney and thought I was going to get sick.  I crawled my way to the bathroom and tried to stay calm because for a moment I felt like I might pass out.  I was home alone with the kids so I knew I needed to act quickly.  I had my phone but my fingers locked and I couldn't bend them so I could barely dial.  I have since found out that the reason for this is hyperventilation.  I guess the pain was so intense that I was breathing super quickly which caused my muscles to cramp.  This really scared me and for a moment I thought maybe I was having a seizure.

I managed to dial my husband's phone number first.  I told him I needed him to come home immediately.  Then we got disconnected.  I dialed my sister next.  I could barely speak but was able to blurt out my kidney hurts...I need you...I don't know what to do.

I hesitated to call 911 myself.  But when I couldn't get up and I heard Ashton waking from his nap I knew this had to be bad.  I dialed the numbers 9-1-1 and the dispatcher told me someone was already on the way.  My husband had also called 911, borrowed a co-workers car and calmly and quickly came home.  My sister called other family members and arrived at my house in a matter of minutes.

I never would have guessed that a kind fireman with a Fu Manchu would be getting my baby out of bed from his morning nap!  Once the help arrived I guess I must have started to calm down because my fingers were less cramped and I could walk and talk - although the pain was still very intense.

After a morning at the ER I discovered that I had a 3.5 mm kidney stone.  I was told there's a 95% chance that a stone this size will pass on its own.  They gave me a prescription for pain meds, some antibiotics and told me to stop nursing for 4 days.
Since then, here's what I've learned.  CT scans are so high in radiation that it's like getting 500 X-rays at once!  I definitely would not have had one had I been informed.  I followed the lead of the emergency room doctor and although I know these scans are an important tool for modern medicine, not so sure it was necessary for my situation.

I learned that ER doctors don't always have the answers and it's really important to get educated and take your health into your own hands.  Kidney stone pain definitely competes with the pain I've experienced in labor, but what was even more painful to me was having to give up nursing my sweet babe for 4 days.  I got some wonderful advice from a friend and lactation consultant, as well as my nurse midwife, and found an antibiotic that is safe while nursing.  So extremely grateful for this because I tried giving Ashy a bottle the first night and it was miserable!

I've learned that eating high oxalate foods can cause kidney stones.  These are foods like kale, spinach, blueberries, chocolate and beans - pretty much all of my favorite foods!  I seriously eat kale at least once, sometimes twice a day, and I now think that may have been a major contributing factor in creating my particular stone.

I've learned that dandelion tea helps the kidneys, cranberry juice can help prevent bladder infections and of course, nothing beats lots and lots of water (lemon is helpful, too).  I've learned that there are holistic, less invasive ways to dissolve some kidney stones, like Attunement, Reiki, and many other options.  I've learned that the spiritual symbolism of kidney stones can be unresolved anger (think of things that "piss you off") or a distrust in the flow of life, or a need to let go of the past.

heart photo

Most importantly, after all the pain, the research, the fluids, the doctors, the healers, the questions, the journaling, the meditating, the thinking, the feeling - I've been reminded of this...

Listen to my heart. 
Listen to my heart.
Listen to my heart.

I received so much conflicting information from the ER doc, the urologist, the holistic healer, Google, community forums and if I let it, all that external overload could make me feel crazy, confused and overwhelmed.  Instead, I decided to get quiet and listen to the messages my body is trying to tell me.  My kidney stone has reminded me to stop trying to do it all myself, to lighten my load, to get more rest, to drink more water and to trust the flow of life.

Our body knows.  Our heart knows.  We just need to listen.

Let it go.
Go with the flow.
And no matter what, the answers to our healing lie within.

Notice how you feel, listen to YOUR body and YOUR heart, 
and trust Life.

Your Personal Reflection:  What is your body trying to tell you?  Can you hear the messages in your heart?  Give yourself a few minutes of quiet time today and really, deeply listen.

*My heart is overflowing with gratitude for my health, for my family and friends, and for the doctors who helped me out this week.

Be well,

Friday, May 20, 2011


A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  The delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.  
-Albert Einstein

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

walking the bridge

I see my path, but I don't know where it leads.  Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it. 
- Rosalia de Castro

Your Personal Reflection:  What do you see as you travel on your path?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Special Thanks

"Love" for Japan

If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one.  -Mother Teresa

BIG thanks to those of you who purchased a "Love" for Japan print.  Because of you, we have collected and donated $260 for the people of Japan.  They still need so much help and any amount, big or small, is a great gift.

The sales for this print will stay open for one more week.  Simply choose how much you wish to donate and you'll receive a 10 x 10 print for your home.  Visit HERE for details.

Happy weekend!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Healing Through Writing

writing photo3

I have never considered myself a "writer."  And even though I've been writing my blog for a few years now, I just had a new realization...this space is helping me heal old wounds associated with writing.

You see, going back to first grade, I distinctly remember a traumatic experience at a spelling bee.  I was sitting in a college classroom with several other students.  It was my first spelling bee (and my last).  It was my turn and the word was "once."  I remembered the rules like a good student would.  Repeat the word (once) and then spell it, then repeat the word again.  I spoke, "Once."  "O."  Then I thought about it again, to make sure I was getting it right.  Ok... "O-N-C-E.  Once."  Phew...I got it right.

Then, the teacher spoke up, and told me I spelled it wrong because I said two "o's."  She proceeded to rewind the tape so we could all hear it again.  I was mortified.  I was only six.  I was sitting there in my seat, while my "mistake" was put on display for all to hear. I left the room crying and luckily my parents were waiting for me in the hallway.

From that moment on, I accepted my new thought, "I am a bad speller."  And I equated "bad speller" with "bad writer" for many years.

writing photo1

Skip to fourth grade.  I had some very controlling catholic schoolteachers at this age. Conformity seemed to be of the utmost importance.  I can see this clearly now just thinking back to the way they taught me "handwriting."

My teachers seemed obsessed with making sure I wrote with a perfect "slant."  My letters had to go to the right.  For any left-handed student, you know that this can be a challenge.  But we do what it takes to get it "right."  I tried everything, like turning my paper to a slant and kinking my neck so far to the right so I could see over my hand.

And not only did I write "too up and down," I was also told I wrote "too wide."  One of my teachers would even sneak up behind me and rip the pencil out of my hand to make sure I wasn't gripping "too hard!"  It seems so ridiculous now.  How cool would it have been had they focused their energy on teaching me about self-worth and personal expression, rather than pointing out my so-called writing flaws?

writing photo2

By the end of the year I had won the "Best Handwriting" award.  What it should have said was, "Best Job at Conforming and Doing What it Takes to Get the Grade" award.  I did it. I learned how to be a good student and get my teacher's approval.

In college I had a lot of friends who were "writers" but I never thought I was one.  I could never be one of "them" because I was a terrible speller and therefore a terrible writer.

After college I landed a job where writing was part of my job description.  I felt like a fake. A phony.  I definitely didn't believe I was a writer, but I played the part well.

I've journaled for years and years and years...writing in secret.  And I was scared to start a blog, mainly because I didn't want people to see my misspellings and grammatical errors.  But I did it anyway and have never looked back.  After blogging for a bit I started embracing a new thought..."I like writing."  And after my recent computer cleanse I was reminded that writing helps me process.  It helps me release my creative energy.  It has helped me find my voice.  And it continues to be an amazing self-discovery tool that helps me heal and grow.  I love to write.  I have to write.

I write with mistakes, wide, up and down, upside down, over and out, inward and outward...

im a writer

This is me.

Your Personal Reflection:  So many of the beliefs we embrace now were formed from our past experiences.  What thoughts are you ready to release?  BEcome and BE yourself - today and always (despite what anyone told you in the past).  NOW is the time to set yourself free.  Think a new, positive thought and you will truly start to heal and change your life.

Have you ever wanted to start a blog, but let fear get in the way?  Maybe you read blogs, but never leave comments?  Is today the day you'll express YOUR voice through words?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dear Mom,

me and mom
me and my mom

I write this to you after spending the 
last three hours nursing Ashton to sleep, 
then "talking stories" to Kestan 
and a bed full of dinosaurs.
I never appreciated just how much you did for me
until I became a mother.
The sleepless nights, the diapers, the teething, the tears,
the puke, the amazing amounts of gunk and crumbs I find throughout the house...
I had no idea how hard this job could be.  
And yet none of that ever really matters, 
because being a mother is just so dang rewarding.
My heart has expanded beyond measure.
My joy is endless.
Because my children are an amazing blessing.
Great, wonderful gifts.
Just as being your daughter is.
Thank you for teaching me how to 
With arms wide open.
I celebrate your wisdom today, 
and all the mothers who are 
or whoever will be.

Your Personal Reflection:  Thank a mother in your life today.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let Your Dreams Bloom

orange spring tulip

I received quite a few emails and comments over the last few days in response to my Lessons from a Computer Cleanse post and it looks like I'm not the only one fumbling through my days trying to find "time" for it all!  Thanks to those of you who reached out, offered suggestions and shared your own struggles.  I truly believe that when we relate and connect in an authentic way we invite Life to help us expand and grow.

Life doesn't have to be hard, overwhelming, and full to the brim, yet most of us find ourselves trying to keep our head above water.  There's just too much to do and not enough time in the day.  So we find ourselves day-in and day-out repeating those old thoughts and patterns...If I only had more money...If I only had more time...If he would just do this...If she would just do that...I should be doing this...and I really shouldn't be doing that...I'm not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, rich enough and on and on and on...

purple spring flower

And while we are busy telling ourselves all the reasons why we can't find happiness NOW life is passing us by.  NOW is the time to clear out our mental clutter, because just as there is beauty that comes from clearing out the weeds in the garden, there is beauty inside you waiting to bloom.

spring tulip

As you move through your day today become more aware of the beauty you see around you and within you.  Truly take the time to stop and smell the flowers.  There is wisdom in that beauty, just as there is wisdom in you.

Life is beautiful.  YOU are beautiful.  Let yourself and your dreams bloom, because YOU deserve happiness and YOU have goodness to share with the world.

Your Personal Reflection:  What would you do with your life if time and money were not a concern?  Are you wasting time and energy on negative mental clutter?  What beauty do you see, around you and within you, when you stop to smell the flowers?

Have you signed up to receive my monthly newsletter?  In my next issue I'll be sharing some tips on how to change your thoughts and ways to create more time in your daily life to allow your dreams to bloom. Sign-up today.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Take a New Look

new perspective

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect.  It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.  -unknown

The other day I took the boys, a sack lunch, a ball and a blanket to the park.  We walked around the pond, played on the swings and then spent well over an hour soaking up the sun (with SPF 40!) on a blanket.  I snapped this shot while lying down and I couldn't help but observe what happens when I change my perspective on things.

Had I not taken the time to lie down I may have never noticed the view above me. Looking up made me realize that there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  It reminded me that there's only one sun, and even though we are miles apart, we all receive rays from the same source.  And it helped me let go of any "to do" lists in my mind because in that moment nothing else mattered but breathing and laughing and being with my little humans.

Sometimes we have to slow way down, even lie down, to see something afresh.  And seeing things in a different light, from a totally new perspective, can help us think a new thought.  Did you know we think over 60,000 thoughts a day?  And I bet many of us are repeating the same old (mostly negative) thoughts.  Sometimes the only way to break free of these old thoughts is to stop and take a new look, because there's always another view.

Your Personal Reflection: Give yourself 5 minutes today to slow down, or even lie down, and notice your thoughts.  What are you thinking about?  Is it time to think a new thought?  Embrace your imperfections and allow yourself to see something in a whole new way.